After losing to a team of firefighters the first two years in an annual flag football game, a team of Lawrence and Douglas County law enforcement officers hope this year’s game will turn out differently.
“We have put some practice time in,” said Kansas University police Officer Damon Tucker, who helps organize the team of cops. “We definitely want to pull it out this year. We need to win.”
For Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Capt. Justin Temple, his side would be fine with another victory and a chance to get in some good-natured ribbing throughout the year.
“There’s a little bit of pride in trying to keep winning,” said Temple, who helps organize the team of firefighters. “And I’m sure there’s a little bit of pride on the other side to try to get the first win, too.”
It’s a competitive, fun rivalry that both sides hope will become a long-standing event for a good cause. The game benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County.
This year’s came will be 5 p.m. Sept. 9 at Free State High School Stadium, 4700 Overland Drive. There is a suggested $5 donation to attend the game, and all proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters in Douglas County.
The team of KU and Lawrence police and Douglas County Sheriff’s officers takes on a team of firefighters from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Cathy Brashler said the game raises about $1,500 to $2,000 a year for the organization’s operations, but she said the exposure it brings to the mission of pairing mentors with youths is important, too.
“We want to grow it every year,” Brashler said.
The game is also special for Tucker, the KU officer, who originally was instrumental in getting it started in 2010. Tucker had a big brother, or a “big,” when he was a boy growing up in Topeka.
“When I was a ‘little’ I took a lot away from it, and I gained a lot of friends and contacts and a had a lot of good experiences,” Tucker said. “I think when I became an adult I knew that I wanted to be able to give back to the program.”
And Temple, the fire captain, said he hoped the game could become a major tradition as well.
“It’s pretty good when some of the kids,” he said, “get to come out and see us having fun out there.”